NHL Power Rankings: Preseason Top 10 for 2022-23
The Daily Goal Horn’s Top Ten NHL Power Rankings is back with the Colorado Avalanche rightfully at the top of the list.
The first batch of preseason games are less than a month away with many trading camps expected to open in the next few weeks. Before things get going, I looked at all rosters and laid out what appears to be the best teams coming into the season.
Let’s dive in to the latest rankings.
NHL Power Rankings
2022-23 Preseason Top 10 Teams:
- Colorado Avalanche
- New York Rangers
- Florida Panthers
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Calgary Flames
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Edmonton Oilers
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Minnesota Wild
Daily Goal Horn Power Rankings Breakdown
Colorado Avalanche: This team went on a 16-4 run to win the Stanley Cup in 2021-22 which goes down as one of the most dominant performances in NHL postseason history. Although the team lost several key players via free agency in Nazem Kadri and Darcy Kuemper, they still have enough to do it all over again. Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen are all in their prime years and ready to wreak havoc this upcoming season. A summer trade to bring in goaltender Alexandar Georgiev from New York will help ease the loss of Kuemper.
New York Rangers: The Rangers aren’t going to surprise anyone after making a run to the Eastern Conference Final last season. While the team lost all their trade deadline pickups via free agency, they will be replaced by upcoming young stars like Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, and Vitali Kravtsov. Much like the Avs, the Blueshirts boast stars like Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, and Chris Kreider. However, it’s Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin that elevates them to #2 on this list.
Florida Panthers: They were considered one of the favorites to win it all before falling to the Lightning in Round 2. Many felt the Panthers, despite all their scoring power were too easy to play against. Enter in Matthew Tkachuk after a blockbuster deal that sent Jonathan Huberdeau and Mackenzie Weegar to Calgary. While Florida also lost Claude Giroux in free agency, this is still a very good hockey team with Paul Maurice now at the helm.
Tampa Bay Lightning: The light is slowly fading on the Lightning, but they are unlikely to go quietly into the night. Yes, they were forced to move Ryan McDonagh to Nashville for cap reasons, plus watched Ondrej Palat sign with New Jersey. However, their young players like Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli will only be counted on more. Let’s not forget this team has Andrei Vasilevskiy in between the pipes with Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman to lead them.
Calgary Flames: What an up and down offseason for the Flames, who somehow lost their two top scorers and came out better! Johnny Gaudreau left via free agency, and Matthew Tkachuk refused to sign longterm so was shipped to Florida. In return, the Flames got high-scoring forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman Mackenzie Weegar. They then went out and signed Nazem Kadri and dumped Sean Monahan to improve their center position. Impressive and reports indicate they may not be done making moves.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes are still one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The acquisition of Brent Burns more than compensates for the loss of Tony DeAngelo on defense. They were also the beneficiary of Vegas’ cap issues and were able to acquire Max Pacioretty for nothing. Although the forward is out 6 months with an Achilles injury, when he returns it will give the Canes a serious offensive boost.
Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl finally have a goalie they can play with. Jack Campbell left the cap-strapped Maple Leafs to join the high-flying Oilers. Evander Kane, who played well since the trade last season wisely re-upped with the club on a multi-year deal. Despite being swept in the Western Conference Final by the Avs, Edmonton looks poised to take a few more strides and challenge for the title.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs on paper look like world-beaters. That has yet to translate into anything substantial on the ice as they continue to lose in the first-round of the playoffs. Yes, Auston Matthews is great. Who doesn’t love what Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Morgan Rielly, and William Nylander bring to the table? Beyond that, the overall defense is suspect and questions are abound in net. Will Matt Murray find the form he lost in Pittsburgh? Will Ilya Samsonov hit his potential? It’s for these reasons that the Leafs crack the top 10 but not the top 5.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins have put all their eggs into one basket and hope it pays off with one more Cup for Sidney Crosby and his friends. Because if it doesn’t next year or the year after, it will hurt even more when the dark days hit in Pittsburgh. By opting to bring back both Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin on multiple-year deals, the Pens will find themselves with players nearing 40 years of age with big cap hits very soon.
Minnesota Wild: Round out the top 10 are the Wild, who have a well balanced team that plays a strong system. Minnesota will rely heavily on Marc-Andre Fleury after jettisoning Cam Talbot to Ottawa. The team’s defense is solid 1-6 and their offense runs though young star Kirill Kaprizov. They could’ve been higher on this list but the loss of Kevin Fiala will sting.